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3 Easy Ways to Eliminate Conversion Data Leakage in Your PPC Campaigns

Show of hands – who thinks that online advertising campaigns should always have a clear goal? I know I do. After all, you have to know what you want before you can effectively obtain it.

Typically, business websites try to accomplish at least one of the following goals:

  • generate sales leads
  • schedule bookings and appointments
  • produce ecommerce sales
  • boost brand awareness

The ‘Golden Rule’ is to always track the accomplishment of these goals in relation to each advertising effort. In other words, make sure that each marketing dollar you invest directly affects your chances of success.

In the digital marketing world, we refer to the “accomplishment of a goal” as a conversion. If you spend X amount of money on a marketing campaign, you want to know how many conversions you get as a result – thus the importance of tracking conversions.

SO HERE’S THE TRICKY PART

Although Google Analytics does a great job of automatically tracking website data – it’s entirely up to you to set up your goals and conversions. Even trickier is preventing users from accomplishing your goals without you knowing about it – i.e. conversions slipping through the cracks.

Here’s a common scenario. The website for Joe’s Auto Shop is supposed to generate leads for potential car servicing. Joe spends $500 per month on PPC advertising within the local area, as well as $1,000 on print advertising in the local paper. As a result, Joe receives phone calls, emails, and website form submissions requesting quotes and appointments for car repairs.

Although business is steady month to month, Joe doesn’t know which marketing tactic is generating the leads. What is Joe to do? Well, Joe should read the following ways to eliminate PPC conversion data leakage.

1) ‘THANK YOU PAGE’ TRACKING

An easy way to track conversions is to set up a destination analytics goal for the “thank you page” resulting from a webform submission. In Joe’s case, his website’s “thank you page” is only visited by a user if they have completed the contact form. By tracking users that visit this thank you page, Joe will know how many users contact him via the webform and how many of them came from PPC.

2) EMAIL EVENTS

To maximize your conversion data, it is good practice to eliminate any method of contact that cannot be tracked in analytics. Generally, webforms are easier to track than emails. The reason for this is that users often cut and paste email addresses from websites into their email client. This web behaviour is notoriously difficult to track. For this reason, I don’t recommend providing text email addresses on a website’s contact form if you are engaging in PPC strategy.

But in this case, Joe is stubborn and insists that he must include his email address on his contact page. What should he do?

Joe should set up an analytics event. By doing this, when users click on his hyper-linked email address to load it into their email client, analytics will track this behaviour as a conversion. The downside is that Joe will never know whether the user actually emailed him, but at least he’ll have an indication.

3) CALL TRACKING

Another common contact point that can potentially create conversion data loss is a website’s contact phone number. Fortunately, there’s a solution for that too, and it’s appropriately named “Call Tracking.”

Though there are numerous approaches to call tracking, the ideas are all the same. Users who visit the website through various channels (direct, organic, paid, referral, etc.) are provided a unique phone number (typically in the header, footer, and contact page). The numbers all generate calls to the same business line, but are tracked based on what number was dialled. This allows analytics to track which channels generated the conversion – i.e. the phone call.

Thanks to this clever trick, at long last Joe has the chance of sufficiently tightening up his conversion tracking. He can even go a step further and provide a tracking number in his print ads. This way he knows how many leads he’s generating by advertising in the local paper.

Although this form of conversion tracking is currently only accessible to analytics goals, and not PPC interfaces like Google AdWords, the goals can easily be easily shared (imported) between platforms.

So now Joe can rest easy, knowing that every time his website generates a lead, he’s in the know.

(Photo: Flickr)